Questions concerned comprehension and understanding the finer aspects of individual words or phrases, with or without a context in which they are expressed.

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6
votes
5answers
215 views

What is the verbatim translation for “都什么时候了” ?

"什么时候" means verbatim "what time" But, when i add 都 (adverb meaning "all") and 了(particle indicating either change of state or completion), i can not grasp what meaning is conveyed by this phrase. ...
6
votes
7answers
317 views

“是你太能說了”這句話什麼意思?

My friend complained that she aged five years in an instant and she posted some photos. I commented that she always has excellent skin and looks very young. Then she said: 是你太能說了 Does this mean ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Translation/Meaning: 棒棒机

What exactly is a 棒棒机? I know it's a simple, ordinary kind of cell phone. Is it the same as the English: burner? What constitutes a 棒棒机? What equivalent phrases do we have in English?
6
votes
3answers
901 views

哪儿 vs. 哪里, Difference in Meaning?

Is there any difference in meaning between 哪儿 and 哪里? If not, then how did the two different words come to be employed? Does 儿 have a meaning, or is it just a sound? I know that there are many ...
6
votes
2answers
122 views

How did 舆论 come to represent Public Opinion?

How did the word 舆论 come to represent the concept of Public Opinion? I know the meanings of the individual characters but I just don't quite see how the combination of these two meanings leads to the ...
6
votes
3answers
245 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?
6
votes
2answers
419 views

What is the difference between 工作上 and 工作

那个是我工作上的东西 Why is there a 上 in this sentence? How does it change the meaning? Ie, what's the difference between 工作的东西 and 工作上的东西? When should 工作上 be used as opposed to 工作?
6
votes
1answer
124 views

When should I use the 是…的 construction?

I've been told that 是...的 is used to put emphasis on something, but I'm not sure when or why I should use it.
5
votes
5answers
623 views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
5
votes
6answers
249 views

How can I interpret 多 in this sentence?

It must be pretty easy, but what does 多 mean here? 我才来了三个多月
5
votes
5answers
514 views

The meaning of 废柴码农

Someone called me a 废柴码农 after I made a silly mistake. I suppose it must be something negative but what does it actually means?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean?

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean? I think it is a proverb. Something do to with god? In my research, is it similar to 江山易改,本性难移?
5
votes
3answers
352 views

Help me understand why 我艹你 means i f*** you?

This might seem as an unserious question but i was really stunned the first time I had an argument with a Chinese guy in League of Legends and he said: "我艹你". my first thought ofcourse was WTF!?! I ...
5
votes
5answers
345 views

What is the difference between 投诉 and 抱怨?

is there a difference between 投诉 and 抱怨? All I know is that they both mean "complain".
5
votes
4answers
252 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
5
votes
2answers
263 views

Why is 土著人 used for Aboriginal people in Australia?

In Australia it is quite common to talk about Aboriginal people as they feature quite often when talking about sports, Olympics or politics. The word that is used to describe Aboriginal people by ...
5
votes
9answers
1k views

Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
5
votes
2answers
376 views

What does 餅乾 mean in Taiwan?

I'm unfamiliar with the variety of Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, so I was surprised to see a chilli-snack 香脆椒 referred to as 餅乾: http://mall.tw100years.com/goods.php?id=9 ...
5
votes
3answers
252 views

Meaning of '沒梗'?

你為什麼打我? 是沒梗了嗎? I'm wondering what 沒梗 means in this context. I know the literal translation is 'no stem', but I'm sure there should be an idiomatic meaning to it.
5
votes
4answers
668 views

What does the `的` mean in `我是九点去上班的`?

In the reply to 你是什么时候去上班的?, what does the 的 in 我是九点去上班的 mean? I think that without the 的, the sentence makes sense in and of itself, right? And the meaning is that I start to work at 9:00 am...., ...
5
votes
4answers
375 views

What is the meaning of ㄝ?

From wikipedia: ㄝ是注音符号中的韵母之一,字形取自“世”字,发音则取“世”字之韵。 But I am not seeing how it should be used, and what is the meaning of this. Anyone knows what is the meaning of this, and when it should be ...
5
votes
5answers
587 views

Another meaning of 同志

Is it true that 同志 have some different meaning. Like gay (as in homosexual) or something. I know that during the XX century in China and communist Russia it was very common to call people 同志(товарищ). ...
5
votes
2answers
277 views

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族?

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族, for example in 中华人民 vs. 中华民族?
5
votes
2answers
544 views

Pattern in the Chinese numbers 1 to 9

I know a lot of Chinese characters are either a symbol of something or a combination of symbols in the space of one character, so what's the origin of the symbol for numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? since ...
5
votes
5answers
367 views

寻 找 , 就 寻 见: I do not understand the second “xún”

At the website http://learnchinesethrubible.org/ I find the following phrase: seek and you will find 寻 找 , 就 寻 见 I do not understand the second "xún". In the dictionary http://www.mdbg.net I ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
5
votes
1answer
159 views

What is the meaning of 不同而不同?

This is taken from the phrase: 口感依成分不同而不同 Sounds like it means "manifold" or something like that?
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Meaning of “去你的头”

I just heard "去你的头" in a joke, and while it sounds like an approving "go ahead" OR "go with your head/what you think" I realized at the end of the joke it's kind of an equivalent of "go f*** yourself" ...
5
votes
3answers
448 views

What is the “Chinese Dream?” (中国梦) [closed]

Sorry if this is getting too non-language specific, but I think it still has language merits that fit the sites requirements. 中国梦 we really don't need a translation as it's clearly just a play on 美国梦 ...
5
votes
2answers
249 views

To 了 or not to 了

I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect 了. My research into the subject gave such results: 了 belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other ...
5
votes
2answers
413 views

Meaning of 白 in words for “nonsense”?

There are a number of Chinese words containing the 白 character that all mean "nonsense" or "speaking nonsense": 白呼 夸白 白话 What's the significance of 白 in these words? 白 usually means ...
5
votes
2answers
567 views

Need help understanding 爱慕虚荣

I came across this phrase 爱慕虚荣 today in a piece of writing. When I use Goggle translate it tells me 爱慕虚荣 means "vain", but 虚荣 by itself also means "vain" and when I search for "vain" and ask for the ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

What does 触控 mean in this sentence?

I was busy reading about Apple's new textbook announcement on Engadget China, and I came across the following sentence: 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容. What is the meaning of 触控 in this sentence? (My ...
5
votes
1answer
691 views

The slang meaning of “Seven/七” in Cantonese

I have heard a few Hongkongers saying seven in a similar, likely identical, context. I assume they are addressing a person because when they say it, they make the L hand gesture. I could be wrong, but ...
5
votes
3answers
164 views

Is 工作详细情况 similar to work experience?

I´m working with Chinese resumes and I´ve found this expression 工作详细情况" I´d like to know if it could be translated as work experience. Is it the same thing? Could 工作详细情况 work as a work ...
5
votes
2answers
238 views

Usage and meaning of “占我的便宜”

My understanding of 占我的便宜 means something similar to 吃豆腐 and I have never heard it used outside of taking sexual advantage. Can this be used in other contexts? Google translate suggests it means "take ...
5
votes
2answers
344 views

How to translate 'hyper-','super-' and 'ultra-' exactly?

The prefixes hyper-, super-, and ultra- seems all has meaning 'transcend' or 'upper class' and can all be translated to '超'. But they have a bit difference, e.g. hypergiant is larger than supergiant; ...
5
votes
1answer
295 views

Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
5
votes
3answers
218 views

What is the difference between 撒谎 and 说谎?

As far as I know, 撒谎 and 说谎 have the same meaning of "telling a lie". Is there a difference between them?
5
votes
3answers
575 views

Why does 拉倒 mean “forget about it”?

拉倒 is a word that can mean "forget about it". For example: 鲁迅 《华盖集续编·马上支日记》:“现在这书既然借不到,只好拉倒了。” This seems strange though, because 拉倒 literally means "to pull over". What is the etymology of this ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
5
votes
1answer
97 views

Why is 相 pronounced with a fourth tone in some cases?

I notice that 相 is pronounced xiang1 in most cases, but xiang4 in a few, mostly less-common words and phrases. The most commonly-used examples seem to be 照相 zhàoxiàng 'photo'; 照相机 zhàoxiàngjī ...
5
votes
2answers
144 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
5
votes
2answers
267 views

Why should I choose 几乎 over 将近?

I had this 填空。 我国与其他国家_____ 同时起步,在这一项目上有一定的实力。 I could choose 似乎,几乎,将近,曾经 I can't see much difference between 几乎 and 将近, I am told 几乎 is correct. I there a definite, palpable reason for this?
4
votes
8answers
610 views

How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
4
votes
6answers
387 views

What is the difference in meaning between 应变 and 适应 here?

Is there a difference in meaning between 应变能力 and 适应能力 in this sentence? If so, can you please try to explain it? 公司领导人认为,在未来十年的商战中,最重要的武器是应变能力、适应能力和创新能力。 Thanks!
4
votes
6answers
561 views

Is Mandarin impossible for my goals?

Since years ago I have been studying some languages with the major goal of being able to read texts, complex or not, written under them. My native is Portuguese (from Brazil) and nowadays I have no ...
4
votes
1answer
482 views

Is there a difference between 担心 (dānxīn) and 着急 (zháojí)?

They're both verbs, they both have meanings "to worry, to be anxious", they both seem to be able to be used as adjectives also. I just want to know if there's any difference: is one used more in ...
4
votes
3answers
682 views

What does “生命诚可贵 爱情价更高 若为自由故 二者皆可抛” mean?

生命诚可贵 爱情价更高 若为自由故 二者皆可抛 I think it means "life is expensive, but love is even more so. However, both are not as good as freedom."
4
votes
2answers
138 views

Meaning of “不了” in “忘不了/喝不了/…”

I know that 了 after a verb means a completion or termination of a certain action, such as: 吃飽了 (I am) full. 開始了 (It) has started. 不動了 (It) is not moving anymore. But what about 了 ...